By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, the Alabama House of Representative during the first night session of 2017 voted to pass House Bill 86 giving judges of probate the power to fine or jail people that defy their orders. Only Probate Judges with law degrees will have these new powers. HB86 was sponsored by State Representative Matt Fridy.
Rep. Fridy said that those probate judges who are learned in the law will have the new civil contempt authority. Fridy said that the new powers are needed because probate judges presently can jail a person for just one day and/or fine them $20 for defying their orders. Probate judges dealing with large estates need the power to have their orders enforced. Probate judges deal with equity law and very large estates. “We have had situations where probate judges can not enforce their orders because they are limited to fines of $20.”